Friday, March 22, 2013

X-tend Barre Review

I have been desperately needing to get back into exercise, but I can honestly say that exercising

regularly (OK, at all!) has always been a real challenge for me. The motivation is just not there most of the time. So when I came across X-tend Barre, a group fitness class that combines elements of pilates and ballet, I was pretty sure that I had found a class I might actually attend on a regular basis!

I have been going for about a month now, and it is amazing! It is a killer class, and there have been days where I have truly thought I may not be able to make it down the stairs from the studio, my legs were shaking that much, but it is adjusted to each person's abilities. Using a combination of light weights, a small ball, and the ballet barre, you will work out muscles you didn't know you had! I took ballet classes for nearly 15 years, so it was great to be back in a familiar environment, but it was also a touch disheartening to see how inflexible and unfit I've become!!

I highly recommend finding an Xtend Barre class nearby if you are looking to mix up your workout. I don't think it is a substitute for a good dose of cardio, but it is a great addition or even replacement to your strength work.

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Monday, March 18, 2013

End of summer beauty tips

Summer may have officially ended here in Australia, but the heat certainly hasn't, and after 5 months of the hottest summer on record, it's easy to see why your skin may not be looking quite its best. But never fear - it's quick and easy to rehab your skin right back into shape!

The first step is to scrub, scrub, scrub away the dullness and bring back your glow. Depending on your skin type, I like to exfoliate twice a week. Oilier skins can handle a bit more, while sensitive skins should take it easier. There are many, many different scrubs out there on the market, at all price points. For my body, I am happy to go cheap and cheerful; I just try and make sure that the scrub is really "scrubby". At the moment, I am using Natio's Spa One Minute Miracle salt scrub that I got as a Christmas present, and it is divine - it smells great, and leaves my skin so soft and moisturised afterwards. It is also really easy to make homemade body scrubs. I still use this recipe for the toning body scrub which I have been mixing with coconut oil for a summery, tropical feel.

For my face, I tend to go more expensive, simply because I haven't found a supermarket/pharmacy scrub that I have been happy with. For a facial scrub, it is really important to go for exfoliating beads that aren't "scratchy". Ground apricot seed tends to fall into this category. If you are buying a scrub, then look for jojoba beads, or synthetic beads which tend to be perfectly round and therefore don't scratch. I use my Clarisonic cleansing brush daily with my normal cleanser, which I usually find to be enough, but when I feel I need a bit more, I mix a teaspoon of caster sugar with a teaspoon of coconut oil or honey.
After scrubbing away the dead skin cells and the dullness, its time to restore the glow, and the easiest way to do that is to restore the moisture to the skin.  The summer heat, the sun, and the drying air of airconditioners running close to 24/7 really, really strips every last bit of moisture out, but often in the heat and humidity, the last thing you want to do is to put on a heavy cream. Instead, on my body, I like to smooth on Nui organic coconut oil on to my damp skin, and then by the time I finish my beauty routine, it has already sunk in. Plus, is there any smell more summery than coconut oil?

On my face, I stick with my normal day cream, but add in a hydrating serum underneath (Clarins Hydraquench Intensive Bi Phase) that seems to really deliver on its promise of intense hydration without leaving my skin oily or greasy. It is chock full of hyaluronic acid, one of the most potent hydration binders, so when looking for a hydrating product, make sure it contains high levels of this star product. At night time, I use 4 drops of Rose-Hip Vital Rosehip Oil before my night cream - it is 100% organic and has made a real difference in how my skin feels. While rosehip oil is primarily recommended due to its high levels of anti-oxidants (fantastic for anti-aging), it is also great at improving the skin's water barrier properties, which helps your skin keep the moisture and hydration in.

The last step to bringing back your glow is to take 5-15 minutes out of your busy day, and relax with a nourishing face mask. If you have oily skin, look for a gel-based hydrating mask like the Aromatherapy Associates Hydrating mask I reviewed a little while ago, while drier skins should look for something richer, like the Clarins Hydraquench mask, which is deeply hydrating and nourishing without being too much. A great homemade option is simply half a mashed avocado smoothed over your face and left for 15-20 minutes.

I promise you, follow these three simple steps, and your skin will not only look great, it will feel great, too!

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Saturday, March 16, 2013

Messenger Collective and kikki K's tips for your workspace

I was recently sent a press release about a brand new magazine about to launch here in Oz, and I was so inspired, I was one of the first people at the newsagent on launch morning requesting it. messenger Collective is like no magazine I've seen before. The subtitle is game changers | thought leaders | rule breakers | style shakers  and that really sums up the magazine. Unlike many other magazines that are full of fluff and mindless entertainment (that I still enjoy!), the stories in this magazine were truly thought provoking. From an in depth exploration of the three (yes, just three!) billion dollar conglomerates behind most of the fashion industry, through to profile pieces on various entrepreneurs, as well as a fascinating spotlight on the Etsy head quarters, this was a magazine that took me nearly a week to read through properly. This is not a mag to flick through while watching reality TV!

The publishers were kind enough to let me share this article about kikki k (my favourite stationery store. ever.) as a teaser, including some of her fantastic tips for organising your workspace. If you want more of these great stories, you can head to the messenger Collective website here for a preview of their current issue.


  • Keep things you use regularly within arm’s reach. Anything rarely used can be stored away in an organised manner.
  • When paper comes into your workspace, remove what’s unnecessary right away. Action things that need to be actioned and sort the rest into logical categories so you know where to find them. 
  • You should never underestimate the motivational power of colour. Everyone is different but I just love the simplicity of white – it looks beautiful and brings calm and control to my workspace.
  • If you’re using notebooks, pens, lists and other bits and pieces every day, why not make them beautiful? I love our new ‘Enjoy The Little Things’ collection – bold colours, very  Scandinavian designs and positive quotes.
  • Try incorporating magazine clippings, artwork, photos, quotes and personal mementos into your space to make it as appealing as possible.
  • Seek inspiration – visit websites and blogs, or even attend an Organisational Workshop which we’re proud to offer at kikki.K.

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Friday, March 8, 2013

Product Review: Palmolive Strawberry Smoother Body Butter Body Wash

 I received Palmolive Strawberry Smoother Body Butter Exfoliating Body Wash in my November bella box but then in the mayhem of Christmas/New Year/Back to School, stashed it away and only found it last week! The sample was a decent size, and lasted me quite a few washes, which was perfect for doing a thorough review.

According to the blurb that came with my sample box:

New season soirees call for frocks galore, which is why your skin should be ready to go on show whenever you need it to be.  This lush and creamy body wash provides long lasting moisture and is a great way to start the day. Be warned: you will be craving strawberry smoothies. luckily you can pick some delish fruit up along with your full sized wash at the supermarket! Too easy.

It certainly smelt like a fruity and fresh strawberry smoothie, and even kinda looked like one, with its seed flecked pale pink creamy texture. It was nice and creamy, and lathered nicely, but I found the exfoliating beads a bit redundant. The concentration of the beads is quite low, so while you could feel them as you washed, it didn't feel like it was giving any real form of exfoliation. And really, if the beads aren't going to exfoliate, and you're just using this as a body wash, then why do you need the beads at all? As for the claim of long lasting moisture, it didn't dry my skin out, but I still needed to use my regular body moisturiser after my shower.

So final verdict - as a body wash, it was fine and for those who like fruity fragrances would be a nice addition to your shopping basket, but as a body smoother/body exfoliator as it states on the label, it didn't do enough for me. Would I purchase it - probably not.

RRP: $6.49 400ml

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Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Extreme Health Library Sale

If you are a regular reader of my blog, you know that I am quite focused on real food and natural health and all that entails. This means that I buy a *lot* of health/food focused books, as I try and move myself and my family to a more wholesome and natural life. So when I cam across this amazing ebook bundle on sale, I jumped.

This sale is unbelievable - for around 75c a book you can add a huge amount of info to your natural health library. Some of the natural lifestyle topics include:

    • herbs and herbal remedies
    • natural healing for cold and flu
    • mastering grain-free baking with coconut flour
    • natural beauty/personal products
    • how to create an herbal first aid kit
    • tools for transitioning to real food
    • how to shop for sustainable food
    • how to cook and eat leafy greens
    • bone broth tutorials and soup demonstrations
    • lacto-fermentation or sourdough
    • successfully eating gluten-free
    • allergen-free menu planning
    • WAPF diet information
    • cleansing diet
    • flower essences
    • raw milk research
 Plus, there are books dealing with many health conditions that mother's often suffer from, including adrenal fatigue, post-natal depression, infertility, and weight issues, just to name a few.

Since I only just bought the bundle, I haven't had a chance to read all of the books, but I already own some of them, and if the quality of the rest (and a quick browse makes me think they are) is anything like the ones I already have, then the collection is well worth every penny.

The sale ends in two days, so act quick!

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PS: there are no affiliate links here or any other form of compensation - I just wanted to share what I thought was an amazing deal on something I purchased myself!!

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